Easily the marquee NBA game on the schedule this week is the Thursday night national TV matchup between the Warriors and Rockets – the two best teams in the Western Conference. Except it has lost some luster due to James Harden’s injury. Be sure to check the NBA odds on game day.
Warriors at Rockets NBA Odds, Pick & Betting Analysis
Hear @KlayThompson discuss how the team’s depth sets the Dubs apart & more after today’s practice.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 2, 2018
When: Thursday, 8 PM ET
Where: Toyota Center, Houston
Radio: 95.7 FM (Golden State) / SportsTalk 790 AM (Houston)
NBA Odds: TBA
Why Bet on Golden State?
The Warriors are whole now that Steph Curry is back from his sprained ankle. He returned Saturday and all the Dubs did was ring up 141 points on the Grizzlies – the most ever scored against them. Curry had 38 points on 13-for-17 shooting and 10 of 13 from long range in just shy of 26 minutes for his ninth 30-point game this season after missing 11 games with that ankle.
Curry became the first Warriors player to score at least 38 points in 26 minutes or less in the NBA’s Shot-Clock Era (since 1954-55). The last NBA player to accomplish the feat before Curry was Cleveland’s Kevin Love who tallied 38 points in 25 minutes on Nov. 28, 2017 vs. Miami. Curry’s 38 points are tied for the third-most after a layoff of 10 or more games within a season in NBA history.
The Warriors’ 141 points were more than they had scored in any of the 11 games played without Curry this season, and the team’s 18 3-pointers were the most since his injury as well. Golden State’s 14 first-quarter assists — for 40 points — were one shy of the franchise record of 15, done three times. The Warriors improved to 8-0 after a loss this season. Golden State is 40-7 since 2014-15 following a defeat.
What Does Curry Say About This Game?
Curry says he expects to play in both ends of a back-to-back Wednesday in Dallas and Thursday in Houston. That might not be the case for everyone, though. Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia are all questionable for Wednesday – although one would think they’d prefer to play this game and sit out vs. the Mavericks. The last time the Warriors played at Dallas and Houston in a back-to-back set was during the 2015-16 season (12/30 at Dallas, L, 91-114 and 12/31 at Houston, W, 114-110).
The Warriors, at 14-3 (.824), have the highest winning percentage on the road entering Wednesday and are tied with Boston for the most road wins this season. Golden State has won seven straight away from home, their longest road winning streak of the season. It is tied for the fourth-longest road winning streak in franchise history.
Why Bet on Houston?
The Rockets visited Orlando on Wednesday. They will be without James Harden for at least two weeks due to a Grade 2 hamstring strain suffered in Sunday’s double-overtime win at the Lakers, which ended Houston’s five-game losing streak. Harden is the league’s scoring leader at 32.1 points per game and also ranks third in the league with 9.1 assists per game, has been durable throughout his career. He has missed a total of only two games since the start of the 2014-15 season and has never missed more than nine games in a season.
Harden’s scoring average has jumped more than three points per game after he also led the league last season, and he is having his most efficient shooting season (.627 true shooting percentage) in his six years of being the Rockets’ go-to guy. The Rockets are 16-2 when Harden and Chris Paul play together, with Paul missing a total of 18 games due to injuries.
The Rockets are 14-0 when Paul plays more than 26 minutes and 12-9 when he plays 26 or fewer or doesn’t play. He and Russell Westbrook are the only players averaging at least 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.00 steals this season.
How Have the Rockets Done With CP3?
Houston has dominated with Paul on the court and Harden on the bench resting this year, typically against opposing second units. They’ve outscored opponents by 21.5 points per 100 possessions in those situations, with Paul averaging 27.3 points and 14.1 assists per 36 minutes. Harden’s absence also will give Eric Gordon more responsibility. He has averaged 31.7 points and 4.8 assists (as well as 5.1 turnovers) per 36 minutes playing without either Harden or Paul. Gordon will move into the starting lineup.
The Rockets opened the season at Golden State with a 122-121 victory. The Dubs led 118-112 with 3:50 remaining but were outscored 10-3 the rest of the way; Kevin Durant made a shot at the buzzer which was waved off.
Houston has lost 11 of the past 13 meetings vs. the Warriors after winning 19 of 22 from 1/29/08-12/13/13. The Rockets’ current six-game home losing streak is twice as long as any other in the series.
Latest NBA Betting Trends
- Golden State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
- Golden State is 14-2 SU in its last 16 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Golden State’s last 12 games
- Houston is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games
- Houston is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games
- The total has gone OVER in 9 of Houston’s last 13 games
Expert Prediction & NBA Pick
Houston is 3-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season after going 13-3 in 2016-17. Make that 3-3 this year as the Dubs will cruise as long as everyone plays for them. So pick Golden State in the NBA odds on Thursday.